'Bonding' with Rita Marley
Bob Marley performing at the One Love Concert an April 1, 1978 at the National Stadium in Kingston. A right are his back-up singers the I-Three. (Photo: Howard MooYoung)

AFTER a lengthy casting search, Bond girl Lashana Lynch has been selected to play Rita Marley in the yet-to-be-titled Bob Marley biopic, according to Deadline Hollywood.

The Paramount flick will be directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, who is known for the Oscar-nominated King Richard. Rita Marley, widow of the late reggae singer, as well as children Cedella and Ziggy Marley are named as producers. Frank E Flowers is being credited as scriptwriter.

Lynch's role will see her sharing top billing with Kingsley Ben-Adir, who will play Bob Marley. Like Ben-Adir, Lynch was born in England to Caribbean parents. Her family has roots in Jamaica.

Lynch, who won the 2021 BAFTA Rising Star Award, played MI6 agent Nomi, in the James Bond film, No Time to Die (2021). She also played the role of Maria Rambeau in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Captain Marvel (2019) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).

Rita Marley, nee Anderson, was born in Santiago de Cuba to Leroy Anderson and Cynthia "Beda" Jarrett on July 25, 1946. She grew up in the upper section of Beechwood Avenue, located in Kingston, Jamaica. She met Bob Marley after meeting Peter Tosh. The two were married in 1966.

She has several solo hits to her credit, including One Draw, Who Colt The Game, Harambe, God's Plan and So Much Things To Say. She was a member of the I-Three, the vocal trio which supported her husband during his live performances and recordings. The other members were Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt.

Bob Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981. He was 36.

In a previous interview, director Green indicated that the film will radiate from the 1976 assassination attempt on Marley's life at his 56 Hope Road base in St Andrew, the resulting exile in London and the recording of the album Exodus during that period.

"Our film starts in '76 and really it's about the making of Exodus," Green told the online news outlet collider.com. "That would indeed be the perfect window to look at Bob Marley's life, in a period where the artiste is forced to reflect upon his roots and the international reach of his love message to humanity."

In the assassination attempt on December 3, 1976, Marley's chest was grazed and his arm was struck with a bullet. His wife Rita and manager Don Taylor were also injured in the attack. Following this attack, Marley left Jamaica for London, where Exodus was recorded. The tracks on this album comprise Natural Mystic, So Much Things to Say, Guiltiness, The Heathen, the title song Exodus, Jamming, Waiting in Vain, Turn Your Lights Down Low, Three Little Birds, and the global anthem One Love/People Get Ready.

In 1999, Time magazine named Exodus the best album of the 20th century, while the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) declared One Love as the Song of the Millennium. The American cable television station VH1 ranked Exodus as the 26th greatest album of all time, while in 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

Green also disclosed that he is working on the script with Zach Baylin, the writer with whom he collaborated on King Richard.

— Brian Bonitto

Rita Marley
Lashana Lynch
Lashana Lynch in a scene from the James Bond movie No Time To Die.
Brian Bonitto

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